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Introduction to SITES Workshop: Understanding Preliminary Requirements for SITES Qualification

November 1, 2019 @ 8:00 am - 4:00 pm EDT

SITES is a sustainability-focused rating system utilized by landscape architects, engineers, planners, developers, and others that assesses the sustainable design, construction, and maintenance of landscapes. This full-day workshop provides an in-depth look at the prerequisites for individuals to become an accredited professional and focuses on the fundamental requirements for a project to become SITES certified and how these requirements correlate to additional credit opportunities. The day will culminate with an afternoon tour of Phipps Conservatory & Botanical Gardens’ Center for Sustainable Landscapes, a SITES Platinum facility and one of the greenest buildings in the world. This workshop qualifies for six (6) PA landscape architecture CEUs.

SITES is managed by the Green Business Certification, Inc. (GBCI) — the certification body for LEED.

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About the Tour of the Center for Sustainable Landscapes:

  • Following the workshop, participants will migrate to Phipps Center for Sustainable Landscapes for the tour (this portion is optional but will provide great insight into the SITES rating system). Participants in the tour will get to see a SITES platinum certified project where they can connect the prerequisites and various credits to the actual as-built physical development on a real site. During the hour-long tour you will learn about the native plant communities of the CSL landscape, innovative storm water management features like the CSL roof garden, lagoon, and rain gardens. You will see the workings of a net-zero energy building and site. Along the way we will discuss the integrative design process and site assessment, maintenance and construction concerns and other issues related to a SITES project.

About our Instructors:

David Himes, RLA, SITES AP, Sustainable Communities Coordinator at The Penn State Center Pittsburgh

David coordinates and guides the implementation of educational demonstration projects, provides training for local green stormwater infrastructure certification, and supports engaged scholarship and community engagement in sustainable neighborhood place making. David received his Bachelor of Landscape Architecture degree from Penn State and is a registered landscape architect.


Mark D’Amico, RLA, Manager of Studio Phipps at Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens

Mark D’Amoico, Studio Phipps’ manager, joined the team after working as a landscape architect for Astorino CannonDesign, creating land development plans for clients such as Department of Energy NETL, the V.A. and Children’s Hospital, Pittsburgh. Mark has written sustainable landscape design guidelines for college campuses and has consulted on design and operational improvements for conservatories and botanical gardens. He has a Healthcare Garden Design Certification from the Joseph Regenstein, Jr. School of the Chicago Botanic Garden. He is a SITES AP and led the effort to recertify the Phipps CSL project to SITES v2 Platinum Certification.

Learning Objectives:

  • To build awareness of the Sustainable SITES standard, including its relationship to, and alignment with, other rating systems.
  • To prepare practitioners with information on how to become a SITES AP.
  • To familiarize practitioners with the rating system and what it takes to get a landscape certified.
  • To allow practitioners to engage with a real-life SITES Platinum case study to see how the standard can be applied in a regional context.


  • 08:00 – 08:30 Registration and Breakfast
  • 08:30 – 08:45 Welcome and History of SITES with Lisa Kunst Vavro
  • 08:45 – 10:00 Introduction to SITES, Sections 1-3 with David Himes
  • 10:10 – 10:20 Break
  • 10:20 – 11:55 Sections 4-5 with David Himes
  • 11:55 – 12:30 Lunch
  • 12:30 – 02:00 Sections 6-8 with Mark D’Amico
  • 02:00 – 02:45 Wrap up and travel to Phipps Conservatory
  • 02:45 – 04:00 Tour of Phipps Conservatory’s Center for Sustainable Landscapes

Registration will close on October 25.

To inquire about scholarship opportunities, please email Leslie Montgomery on or before October 18.

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This workshop is brought to you by the following partners:


This is a partnered event that was initiated by GBA, along with Penn State Center, Chatham University, and Phipps Conservatory. GBA and Chatham are overseeing logistics and Penn State Center and Phipps are overseeing content. All parties will be promoting to their audiences.


November 1, 2019
8:00 am - 4:00 pm
Event Category:


Welker Room
1 Woodland Rd.
Pittsburgh, PA 15232 United States
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